What’s Behind the Visual?

Selecting a high-performing team is one of the best ways to build a successful organization. The problem is that most of us are terrible at doing so.

The NFL Combine is a giant talent show with a billion dollars on the line, and every year, most of the outcomes prove that the scouts use the wrong data to pick the wrong players. The best example was Tom Brady recording the worst score in 17 years at the 2000 combine. The movie Moneyball was all about how reluctant baseball scouts refused to change their strategy, even after they were shown that useful analytics were a far better predictor of future performance than they were.

The data proves that the SAT is a poor indicator of college performance, but most colleges continue to use it anyway. The data proves that a famous college doesn’t correlate with lifetime success or happiness, but kids are pushed to attend them anyway.

All that time on social networks still hasn’t taught people not to judge others by their profile photos, and yet, the data proves that’s still the primary metric.

We do the same thing when we scan resumes, judging people by ethnic background, education, gender or whether the resume is in the proper format. When it comes to us, we believe that everyone else is terrible at judging our potential; yet we judge others and make hiring decisions every day based upon a short interview (or worse, a long one).

We now know that easy-to-measure skills aren’t nearly as important as the skills that really matter. Articulation, good interactive skills, dependability, attention to detail, empathy, compassion, servant attitude, accountability; in short, the spectrum of personal and social skills that mean the difference between putting together a team that is average or otherwise.

Truth be told, selecting a high-performing team is about judging the right things; not the wrong ones!

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